Friday, April 03, 2009

On the Warpath | by Jay

In addition to the daily drumbeat of reports coming out of Spring practice, here's a trio of national stories covering the Irish that came out this week.

Matt Hayes of The Sporting News talks about the spirited practices this spring in South Bend.

"In the three years I've been here," said Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen, "I've never seen it like this."

This is far from your typical spring drills across the college football landscape. Spring is a time for young guys to make a move and veterans to sharpen skills and not get hurt.

Yet there was Notre Dame, six practices into spring drills -- and only the third in pads -- banging and brawling for their ever-loving football lives. Play by play, position by position.

"We saw what we could be that last time we stepped on the field," said guard Eric Olsen. "That kind of shook up everyone; made them realize we have to play with that intensity every time out."
Andy Staples at SI goes over prospects for the Irish defense.
Weis stopped the drill, but he didn't discipline the senior. Instead, he got in the freshman's ear hole. "You're never going to make it around here if you let that happen," Weis said later. "Not that I'm looking to instigate, but at the same time, it was a perfect coaching point for him. I was saying, 'You're going to have my blessing in that situation. ... Don't count on [junior linebacker] Brian Smith to come to the rescue. Stand up and defend yourself.'"
And finally, ESPN's Ivan Maisel works up a insightful profile of Charlie, the result of an all-access, behind-the-scenes week spent shadowing the big man through meetings and practices. It's a long read, and well worth it.
The Gug's staff rooms are smaller than those in most football buildings these days. Behind Weis, there are two cabinets filled with computer and video equipment. The whir of the computer fans deadens any other ambient noise. The wooden window blinds, a rich brown to match the cabinets, are fully drawn. The glow of gray light seeps in at the edges.

Weis looked to his immediate left, where the new line coach, Frank Verducci, sat. On Tuesday, Verducci had sent a four-page e-mail to Weis and each of the linemen, breaking down their play.

"I really like the e-mail you sent," Weis said. "It called them out, good and bad."

After last season, Weis asked for the offensive and defensive averages of the 10 teams that played in the BCS games, plus Cotton Bowl participants Ole Miss and Texas Tech. "If the goal is to be a BCS team," Weis reasoned, "then that's what we should be doing."
Plenty of good tidbits buried in each of those articles.